As each year goes by there is always the possibility of an exciting fossil being discovered, or of one of our existing fossils in the collection being featured in a scientific paper. When this happens we will do our best to let you know about it. However excavation takes some time, as does research if it is to be done properly, and publication often needs to wait until a new journal can be professionally reviewed and then printed or produced on-line.Sometimes we need to wait before reporting a new find so that the initial research can be finished. Some of our viewers may notice that articles appear here after the year has gone by - that just means we were waiting for the research to be published. Although it may seem an unusual thing to do we would not wish to rush the announcement of new finds until the scientific research had been robustly done.We hope you enjoy reading about our new discoveries.
FindsA number of interesting fossils have been found so far this year. We will post news of these as they are conserved and prepared for photography. ResearchResearch is continuing into two of our Wealden reptiles. Publication of the results may take place in 2013. We will let you know the results. A review of some of the crabs and lobster fossils from the north coast of the Island has featured in a new paper (reference below). ReferencesQuayle, W.J. & Collins, J.S.H. 2012. A review of the decapod crustaceans from the Tertiary of the Isle of Wight, Hampshire, U.K, with description of three new species. Bulletin of the Mizunami Fossil Museum. No. 38. p33-51.
FindsAn excavation at the beginning of the year uncovered the remains of a partial skeleton of a large sauropod. It is likely to be the subject of research for many years. We will let you know what happens. The specimen has been numbered IWCMS.2010.20 and is currently being cleaned, conserved and partially reassembled. Skeletal remains currently consist of much of the pelvis, hind limb bones, pedal phalanges and claws, and a quantity of rib segments. A number of gastroliths (stomach stones) were also found in amongst the remains.ResearchResearch into a complex neural arch from an anterior caudal vertebra (MIWG.5384) has resulted in it being identified from a new rebbachisaurid (Dinosaur: Sauropoda) from the Wessex Formation of the Isle of Wight.Originally collected by Steve Hutt in 1983, the bone has been carefully conserved due to its fragile nature. The fossil came from the soft mudstones of the Lower Cretaceous Wessex Formation near Chilton Chine. Although there is not enough material to give this creature a new name it is an important addition to the known European rebbachisaurid dinosaurs Demandasaurus and Histriasaurus boscarollii. Further specimens (from the Isle of Wight) of the small dinosaur Valdosaurus have been the subject of research that indicates that this dinosaur may have been more common than previously thought.A detailed review of the Isle of Wight Cretaceous turtle Helochelydra nopcsai has been published by the Palaeontological Association. The skull has been preserved in remarkable detail which has enabled it to be compared with similar turtles found elsewhere.ReferencesBarrett, P.M., Butler, R.J., Twitchett, R.J. & Hutt, S. 2011. New material of Valdosaurus canaliculatus (Ornithischia: Ornithopoda) from the Lower Cretaceous of southern England. Special Papers in Palaeaontology, The Palaeontological Association, 86, pp 131-163Joyce, W.G., Chapman, S.D., Moody, R.T.J. & Walker, C.A. 2011. The skull of the Solemydid turtle Helochelydra nopcsai from the early Cretaceous of the Isle of Wight (UK) and a review of Solemydidae. Special Papers in Palaeontology. The Palaeontological Association. 86. pp75-97. Mannion, P.D., Upchurch, P. & Hutt, S. 2011. New rebbachisaurid (Dinosauria: Sauropoda) material from the Wessex Formation (Barremian, Early Cretaceous), Isle of Wight, United Kingdom. Cretaceous Research. 32 (2011) 774-780.
FindsA fine specimen of a Wealden cycadeoid stem fragment was acquired from collector Andrew Cocks. When alive, over 120 milion years ago, it would have formed part of a pineapple-shaped plant with long frond-type leaves. It has been numbered as IWCMS.2010.7. The diamond shape patterns are similar to those that can be found in modern cycads and tree ferns. The five-pence coin is for scale - it is 18mm in diameter.ResearchHooker, J.J. 2010. The 'Grand Coupure' in the Hampshire Basin, UK: taxonomy and stratigraphy of the mammals on either side of this major Palaeogene faunal turnover. In: Whittaker, J.E. & Hart, M.B. (eds) Micropalaeontology, Sedimentary Environments and Stratigraphy: A Tribute to Dennis Curry (1912-2001). The Micropalaeontological Society, Special Publications, p147-215.Sweetman, S.C. & Insole, A.N. 2010. The plant debris beds of the Early Cretaceous (Barremian) Wessex Formation of the Isle of Wight, southern England: their genesis and palaeontological significance. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 292 (2010) p409-424.Sweetman, S.C. & Martill, D.M. 2010. Pterosaurs of the Wessex Formation (Early Cretaceous, Barremian) of the Isle of Wight, southern England: a review with new data. Journal of Iberian Geology 36 (2) 2010: 225-242.
ResearchPublications this year include work on three specific dinosaurs and pterodactyl diversity from the Isle of Wight. A comprehensive review of English ornithopod dinosaurs found on the Island and elsewhere was published by Peter Galton.Benson, R. B. J., Brusatte, S. L., Hutt, S. and Naish, D. 2009. A new large basal tetanuran (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Wessex Formation (Barremian) of the Isle of Wight, England. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 29(2): 612-615, June 2009. Benson, R.B.J., Carrano, M.T. and Brusatte, S.L. 2009. A new clade of archaic large-bodied predatory dinosaurs (Theropoda: Allosauroidea) that survived to the latest Mesozoic. Naturwissenschaften DOI 10.1007/s00114-009-0614-x. Published online: 14 October 2009. Galton, P.M. 2009. Notes on Neocomian (Lower Cretaceous) ornithopod dinosaurs from England - Hypsilophodon, Valdosaurus, "Camptosaurus", "Iguanodon" - and referred specimens from Romania and elsewhere. Revue de Paleobiologie, Geneve (juin 2009). 28 (1): 211-273. ISSN 0253-6730Mannion P. D. 2009. A rebbachisaurid sauropod from the Lower Cretaceous of the Isle of Wight, England. Cretaceous Research. 30 (2009) 521-526. Witton, M. P., Martill, D. M. and Green, M. 2009. On pterodactyloid diversity in the British Wealden (Lower Cretaceous) and a reappraisal of "Palaeornis" cliftii Mantell, 1984. Cretaceous Research. (2009) doi: 10.1016/j.cretres.2008.12.004 p1-11.
ResearchWork in 2008 has included further research into Neovenator and the histology of Pterosaurs. Whilst some of our larger animals were reported on, the smallest didn't go unobserved. Two of our midges featered in a paper on insects found in Island Cretaceous tree resin.Brusatte, S. L., Benson, R. B. J. and Hutt, S. 2008. The osteology of Neovenator salerii (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Wealden Group (Barremian) of the Isle of Wight. Monograph of the Palaeontographical Society, London: 1-75, pls 1-45. (Publ. No. 631, part of Vol. 162 for 2008). Heads, S.W. 2008. A new species of Yuripopovia from the early Cretaceous of the Isle of Wight (Coleorrhnycha: Progonocimicidae). Br. J. Ent. Nat. Hist., 21: 2008 p 1624.1-7 Jarzembowski, E.A., Azar, D. & Nel, A. 2008. A new chironomid (Insecta: Diptera) from Wealden amber (Lower Cretaceous) of the Isle of Wight (UK). Geologica Acta, Vol 6, No. 3. pp 285-291Steel, L. 2008. The palaeohistology of pterosaur bone: an overview. Zittelinia. B28, p109-125.
ResearchHooker, J. 2007. Bipedal browsing adaptations of the unusual Late Eocene-earliest Oligocene tylopod Anoplotherium (Artiodactyla, Mammalia). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 151, 609-659.Paul, G.S. 2007. A revised taxonomy of the iguanodont dinosaur genera and species. Cretaceous Research. doi 10.1016/j.cretres.2007.04.009
ResearchHeads, S. W. 2006. A new caddisfly larval case (Insecta, Trichoptera) from the Lower Cretaceous Vectis Formation (Wealden Group) of the Isle of Wight, southern England. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association. 117, 307-310. Sweetman, S.C. 2006. A gobiconodontid (Mammalia, Eutriconodonta) from the Early Cretaceous (Barremian) Wessex Formation of the Isle of Wight, southern Britain. Palaeontology. Vol 49. Part 4. pp 889-897.Sweetman, S.C. & Underwood, C.J. 2006. A neoselachian shark from the non-marine Wessex Formation (Wealden Group: early Cretaceous, Barremian) of the Isle of Wight, southern England. Palaeontology. Vol. 49. Part 4. pp 457-465.
Around 122 million years ago, the carcase of a pterosaur was washed into the mud at the bottom of a river. It lay there undisturbed until a few years ago, when coastal erosion removed it from its rocky tomb. Parts of the skull and wing bones were found on the beach by several different local collectors. Other parts may have been washed away already.
Pterosaurs were winged reptiles that lived at the same time as dinosaurs. The earliest pterosaurs are found in Triassic rocks in Italy, around 235 million years old. They survived until the end of the Cretaceous Period, by which point many large forms existed, with wingspans of over 12 metres. The reason for their extinction 65 million years ago is a mystery, but it was the end for many other animal and plant groups on Earth.
The new pterosaur from Sandown Bay belongs to a family called the Ornithocheiridae (‘bird hand’). They are large pterosaurs with crested skulls, long pointed teeth, and wingspans of around 4-6 metres. Ornithocheirids have been found in Cretaceous rocks in many parts of the world, particularly the UK, Brazil and North Africa.
The Sandown pterosaur is different from any that have been previously discovered, so it has been given a new name: Caulkicephalus trimicrodon. The generic name is derived from ‘caulkhead’, the traditional local name for people who caulked ships in the Solent shipyards. The species trimicrodon refers to the three small teeth near the front of the jaw.
The bones, which include the braincase, upper jaw and wing bones, were found on Yaverland beach by G. Leng, T. Winch, D. Davies, M. New, M. Munt, and L. Steel. The new pterosaur is described in the latest issue of the scientific journal Cretaceous Research, by a scientific team including Dinosaur Isle Museum, University of Portsmouth and the Humboldt Museum in Berlin.
The research is published in: Steel, L., Martill, D. M. Unwin, D. M. and Winch, J. D. 2005. A new pterodactyloid pterosaur from the Wessex Formation (Lower Cretaceous) of the Isle of Wight, England. Cretaceous Research. 25, 686-698.Skull reconstruction
Figure 1. A reconstruction of the skull of Caulkicephalus trimicrodon by Lorna Steel.
The rostrum ('upper jaw')
Figure 2. Palatal view of the rostrum of C. trimicrodon
Figure 3. Right lateral view of the rostrum
Figure 4. Drawing of the distal portion of the rostrum
The two images shown in Figures 3 and 4 show the right lateral view of the rostrum (or upper part of the jaw). The rostrum is in three parts as can be seen in the photograph (Figure 2). The sockets for the teeth show that there are two prominent forward facing teeth at the snout, with three larger teeth behind on each side. Just to the left of the fracture (Figure 4) are sockets for three small teeth on each side. It is this feature that gives the species its name (trimicrodon = three-small-teeth). From this point back the teeth are staggered in alternate positions as can be seen in the palatal views below and in Figure 2. The preserved part of the rostrum is 29cm in length.
Figure 5. Drawings of the palatal view of the rostrum.
Figure 6. Anterior view of the rostrum.
This view of the 'snout' shows the position of the forward facing tooth sockets (dental alveoli). The small black spot seen in one of the sockets is the tip of a replacement tooth.
Figure 7. An unrelated pterosaur tooth shown for comparison.
Figure 8. Posterior view of the partial braincase.
Associated with the rostrum was a partial braincase which is assumed to come from the same individual. The image shows the back (posterior) view and the base of the skull crest.
ResearchGoldring, R., Pollard, J. E. and Radley, J. D. 2005 Trace fossils and pseudofossils from the Wealden strata (non-marine Lower Cretaceous) of southern England. Cretaceous Research. 26 665-685. Nel, A., Petrulevicius, J. F. and Jarzembowski, E. E. 2005. New fossil Odonata from the European Cenozoic (Insecta: Odonata:Thaumatoneuridae, Aeshnidae, ?Idionychidae, Libellulidae) Neus Jahbuch fur Palaontologie Abanh 235 343-380.Radley, J. D. 2005. Derived fossils in the southern English Wealden (non-marine early Cretaceous): a review. Cretaceous Research. 26 657-664.Steel, L., Martill, D. M. Unwin, D. M. and Winch, J. D. 2005. A new pterodactyloid pterosaur from the Wessex Formation (Lower Cretaceous) of the Isle of Wight, England. Cretaceous Research. 25, 686-698.
ResearchClarke, J. B 2004 A mineralogical method to determine cyclicity in the taphonomic and diagenetic history of fossilized bones. Leithaia 37, 281-284 Evans, S. E., Barrett, P. M. and Ward, D. J. 2004. The first record of lizards and amphibians from the Wessex Formation (Lower Cretaceous: Barremian) of the Isle of Wight, England. Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association. 115, 239-247.Naish, D., Martill, D. M., Cooper, D. and Stevens, K. A. 2004 Europe’s largest dinosaur? A giant brachiosaurid cervical vertebra from the Wessex Formation (Early Cretaceous) of southern England. Cretaceous Research. 25, 787-795.Sweetman, S. 2004. The first record of velociraptorine dinosaurs (Saurischia, Theropoda) from the Wealden (Early Cretaceous, Barremian) of southern England. Cretaceous Research. 25, 353-364.
ResearchThere are no papers identified for 2003.
ResearchSelden, P. 2002. First British Mesozoic spider, from Cretaceous amber of the Isle of Wight, southern England. Palaeontology. 45. 973-984.
ResearchHutt, S., Naish, D., Martill, D. M., Barker, M. J. and Newbery, P. 2001. A preliminary account of a new tyrannosauroid theropod from the Wessex Formation (Early Cretaceous) of southern England. Cretaceous Research. 22, 227-242.Martil, D. M. and Naish, D. 2001. Dinosaurs of the Isle of Wight. The Palaeontological Association. London 433pp.Selden, P. A. 2001. Eocene spiders from the Isle of Wight with preserved respiratory structures. Palaeontology. 44 695-729.
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